Thursday, September 15

Holly Bourne - What's a Girl Gotta Do?

"I want to be the sort of person who could face themselves in the mirror."

I couldn’t believe my luck when I received What’s a Girl Gotta Do? for review from the publishers- if you’ve read the synopsis (given below) you’ll know why. A YA contemporary that exclusively deals with feminism? When did we last come across anything even remotely talking about feminism? I certainly don’t remember and I’m sure you wouldn’t too. In YA? Nah. It’s therefore safe to say that I was really excited about reading this book, and given my tendency to take the easy way out in practically everything in life (not that I’m proud of it, oh no), I was really intrigued by this:
HOW TO START A FEMINIST REVOLUTION:
1. Call out anything that is unfair on one gender
2. Don't call out the same thing twice (so you can sleep and breathe)
3. Always try to keep it funny
4. Don't let anything slide. Even when you start to break...
Lottie's determined to change the world with her #Vagilante vlog. Shame the trolls have other ideas...


A girl who is determined to change the world when there were people like me who were prepared to lay low and take the easy way out? Yes, please. My expectations were undoubtedly at an all-time high, and I
needed to read it. However, despite this book promising to work well enough as a standalone, I wanted to read the first two books as well, because they did look really amazing, and they had been sitting in my TBR for too long already, and what better moment to pick them up than this? And so I did. I read both Am I Normal Yet? and How Hard Can Love Be? and trust me when I say  they are so, so, SO GOOD. I really regret not picking them up sooner, but anyway, now that I did, I guess I can now yell in your faces- do yourself a favor and pick them up already!!! *deep breathes* Please. And now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you why What’s a Girl Gotta Do? instantly became one of my mostest favoritest books of forever.


Received a physical copy from Usborne Publishing in exchange for an honest review.

The third installment in the one-of-its-kind Spinster Club trilogy by Holly Bourne is all about feminism. Where the first two books were Evelyn's and Amber's stories respectively, here it's all about Lottie and her quest to bring down the patriarchy. What's a Girl Gotta Do? is a powerful series-ender (even though it can be read as a standalone too, as I mentioned before), and works well as a book that speaks about all that comes along with being a teen feminist. It teaches how important it is to hold on to your beliefs, how important it is to keep going, even when the going gets tough. 

After being sexually harassed on her way to college one day, Lottie decides she's had enough of it all and realizes it's high time she started standing up for herself and women everywhere. This makes her come up with the idea of calling out on every instance of sexism she sees in day to day life, filming it all and uploading the videos on her #Vigilante blog for one whole month. She has her best friends, Amber and Evie, and the FemSoc at college by her side to help her all the way through this, and a guy from Evie's film studies class, Will, offers to help her with he camera too- even though he didn't believe in the word "feminism"...!!!



Armed with clown horns to honk the second they spot something sexist, Lottie and her team go about their campaign enthusiastically, even as they face resistance from all quarters. However, as the campaign gathers steam, Lottie starts attracting online trolls who try to bring her down. This is not to mention having to deal with her parents who frown upon her activities, school mates determined to ruin her campaign and her grades which suddenly start suffering too. Incredibly stressed out and with both her sanity as well as her Cambridge interview in threat, Lottie finds herself in the difficult position of having to decide whether to go ahead with the campaign, or admit defeat. Does Lottie succeed or will her feminist revolution lose steam just as fast as it gathered it? You'll have to read this wonderfully thought-provoking book to find out!


“When you fight for what you believe in, you come across a lot of obstacles. People who don't agree with you, people who agree with you but only some bits, people who delight in ripping you down, people who are threatened by the strength of your belief. 
But I was beginning to realise, the biggest hurdle to overcome was the hurdle of yourself.” 

The author’s writing style is as fantastic as always. If you’ve read her previous books, you’d know of her ability to perfectly balance serious undertones and comic ones, and it’s no different here. Despite being quite long, the story is fast paced and filled with humorous, sarcastic anecdotes and for not one moment would find yourself feeling bored (I ended up reading the book even though I had my finals at uni two days later, so you can guess just how addictive it was!). The emotions are spot-on, and you’d find yourself being able to sympathize with the characters. 

Just like in the previous Spinster Club books, Holly Bourne has once again managed to perfectly capture the voice of a teenage girl and convey her inner turmoil and feelings in a strong, unforced manner. Along with talking about serious topics comes the risk of sounding too preachy about them, but the author cleverly avoids doing that here. While this book deals mainly about feminism and all that it entails, we also get teenage drama, friendship troubles, falling in love, dealing with parental and peer pressure and much, much, more, and all of this is handled so well and subtly that after reading this book you’d have a lot of thinking to do.



The characters in this book are all very realistic and well developed. Lottie, the main character, was extremely relatable. She was loud, she was flawed, she was insecure, she was spunky, she was frustrated…she was frustrating, and above all, she was human. It was very easy to imagine being in her shoes because what she went through, was what most, if not all, girls go through daily. However unlike her, most of us fail to do something about it, and thus this book serves as a great source of inspiration to anyone and everyone. The supporting cast was perfect, too. I loved her best friends, Evelyn and Amber right from the first book, so it was great to read about their lives now. Will, the cameraman, turns out to be quite an important character, and despite me wrinkling my nose at him at the beginning, he ended up being one of my favorite characters in the series! 


“I want to change things on my own terms, to show that there's no right or wrong way to change the world. There's no entry test. You don't need to suck anything up. Pay any dues. Just you and your anger and your voice is enough. If you only have the courage to use it.”

I definitely came away from this book feeling inspired and wanting to be more vocal about the many issues I generally tend to be silent about- this book makes you realize even if everything is against you, it is always worth fighting for something you believe in. The Spinster Club series will always be special to me, and it’s not just because of the various Harry Potter and Enid Blyton references or cheesy snacks either! It doesn’t matter if you’re well past the intended age group, it doesn’t matter if you’re not into YA, it doesn’t matter if you don’t dig contemporary...it doesn't even matter if you don't consider yourself a feminist- this book is a must-read, and while you’re at it, consider picking up the first two books too! 

The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 5/5  
The cover: 5/5 - I can't think of a more apt cover for this book! Love it!
Enjoy factor: 5/5

         
PS: …And a Happy New Year? is a novella that will be coming out this November- which means we’ll get to see more of Evie, Amber and Lottie!!! I, for one, simply cannot wait!

PPS: You might want to check out my post about Feminism in YA, if you haven’t already. Just click here! I also created a Pinterest board inspired by this series! Check it out here.

4 comments:

  1. I absolutely need to read this book and the other books in the series! What an amazing message, and it looks so empowering!

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    1. OMG- you should totally read this as soon as possible! It really is empowering, and once you read it you'll see what I was raving on and on and on about so much :D

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  2. Great review! After your discussion post, I seriously want to read this series. It sounds so fantastic and I love love love this so much!

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    1. I'm sure you'd absolutely love this series, Eva! I hope you pick it up someday soon- I'd love to know what you think of it!

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